Matt Damon appeared to have implied that actors, especially those who are gay, shouldn’t be so open about their sexuality. He seemed to think being upfront about sexual orientation could be detrimental to one’s career, particularly in the film industry. However, the actor has been trying to clarify what he meant.
The Martian star Matt Damon implied that it would be wise for actors to think multiple times before coming out of the closet. He feels being openly gay in Hollywood could go strongly against the actor. The actor made the remark that’s gone viral on social media while addressing old rumors that he and Ben Affleck were a couple. Damon was talking about the 2013 HBO TV-movie Behind the Candelabra, with the Guardian, when he reportedly made the remark.
Asked whether he felt actors who come out of the closet face more difficulties in show business, Matt Damon said:
“I’m sure. When Ben and I first came on the scene there were rumors that we were gay because it was two guys who wrote a script together. It’s just like any piece of gossip… and it put us in a really weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive. I don’t want to, like [imply] it’s some sort of disease — then it’s like I’m throwing my friends under the bus. But at the time, I remember thinking and saying, Rupert Everett was openly gay and this guy — more handsome than anybody, a classically trained actor — it’s tough to make the argument that he didn’t take a hit for being out.”
Though his comments might clearly imply that Matt Damon is against actors being open about their sexual orientation, he did clarify why he said what he said. Damon said he strongly believes that an actor’s sexuality should have no bearing on how well he or she can play a role. What he meant was, the less the audience knows about the actor’s personal life, the better. He added that he knew that sexuality is a big part of a person, but it is the mystery factor that significantly affects the appeal.
Damon has been fielding rumors of being gay since before he played Liberace’s gay lover. Damon and Affleck had co-written and acted in the Academy Award-winning Good Will Hunting. Though the movie was an immense success, appreciated by audiences and critics alike, it kickstarted a rumor that the two friends were secretly gay lovers.
While he has time and again refuted these rumors, Damon’s recent comments were considered quite scandalous as they appeared to be coming from a heterosexual celebrity indirectly preaching that homosexuality was unacceptable and that it would serve gay actors well if they forever hide their orientation in order to protect their careers. Though this may sound detrimental, Damon took time on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to clear the air saying,
“I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery, right? And somebody picked it up and said I said gay actors should get back in the closet. Which is like, I mean it’s stupid, but it’s painful when things get said that you don’t believe. You know what I mean? And then it gets represented that, that’s what you believe.”
While Matt Damon might have invited widespread criticism for his comments, history hasn’t been kind to openly gay actors. Only today, actors who are honest about being gay are acknowledged and aren’t discriminated, but once upon a time not far back, homosexuality wasn’t just considered criminal, but a disease as well.
Do you think Matt Damon addressed the issue correctly?
[Image Credit | Jason LaVeris, Timothy A. Clary, Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images]